NEEDLES (CBSLA) — Five young children are safe Friday after being found inside a makeshift wooden crate in the back of a pickup truck in San Bernardino County.

(credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

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Deputies stopped a pickup truck on Bailey Avenue and J Street in Needles Wednesday and found an unbelievable site — children being kept inside a wooden crate attached to the bed of a pickup truck.

The five children range in age from 1 year old to 13, and none of them were in car seats. Temperatures in the area were in the triple digits that day, and the children were left with no ventilation, water or air conditioning, authorities said.

The children’s aunt, Zona Brasier, is one of the three adults who have been arrested on suspicion of child endangerment. Her stepbrother, Dale Madden, says his sister was driving the children from Sacramento to Oklahoma to help raise them away from a high-risk home life because their mother had recently become homeless.

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“Her intentions was to, ‘you know what sis, I’ll take the kids…and then later, you can come visit or whatever,’” he said.

The sheriff’s department say they were tipped off to the children’s presence by people who reported hearing crying coming fro inside the box at a rest stop.

Two men from Sacramento, Kenneth Standridge and Aushajuan Hardy, were also arrested. Authorities say they also found illegal narcotics and a shotgun inside the truck.

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The children are now in the custody of child protective services.